The Financial Impact of Divorce on Adult Children

Perhaps one of the most well-known and well-documented aspects of divorce is its impact on younger children. These children of divorce are often forced to endure lengthy (and potentially hostile) child custody proceedings, cope with the disappearance of their family home and adapt to a new life in which only one biological parent at a time is present.

What about those children whose parents divorce later in life, meaning in their 20s or 30s? Contrary to popular belief, these children must not only deal with the aforementioned emotional issues but also with a host of financial problems that are a direct byproduct of the divorce, including the disappearance of their childhood home and perhaps their college fund.

According to Diana Mercer, an attorney and noted author of multiple divorce-related books, these adult children also have a tendency to neglect their own financial wellbeing in the aftermath of a divorce. For example, they may deplete their own savings to care for a parent left alone in the wake of the divorce, put off the completion of their education or even stay in a lower paying position.

Fortunately, divorce experts have recommended a few simple steps that adult children whose parents have separated can take to ease the financial strain on their own lives:

  • Be certain to focus on your own life and do not jeopardize your financial health/career. (After all, you may be losing a share of your financial support, future inheritance or educational expenses.) That being said, children can still be there for their parents, providing emotional support to both or even recommending certain mutually beneficial divorce strategies that can protect assets and maximize tax savings.
  • Investigate long-term care policies. A long-term care policy for a parent can help ensure that you do not end up having to cover their (potentially steep) health care costs in the future and help make certain that their medical needs will be covered.
  • Seek assistance from third parties. If you are worried about the financial circumstances of a parent post-divorce, rather than taking on all of their potential concerns, consider setting up appointments with a financial planner. A few informative sessions with a financial planner can help manage expectations and provide valuable insight regarding their new life.

To learn more about divorce, life after divorce or child custody matters, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

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Related Resources:

Stern Advice: Adult Kids of Divorce Face Extra Burdens (Reuters)